We Shall Overcome

Photo: (L to R) Patrick Reilly, Pavee Point, Nuala Kelly, Pavee Point, Sheila Nunan, ICTU, Des Geraghty, Ethel Buckley SIPTU and Michael Halpenny
Front Row (L to R) Michael Farrell, Fr Peter McVerry, Lucky Khambule, Bernadette McAliskey.

‘We Shall Overcome Civil Rights – the Struggle Continues’ was a seminar held in Liberty Hall on the 10th November to commemorate 50 years since the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement in Northern Ireland.

The seminar focused on the issues for today – housing for all, workers’ rights and racism and migrant rights. Nuala Kelly, Pavee Point chaired a panel discussion on Racism and Migrant Rights with Bernadette McAliskey and Lucky Khambule.

Patrick Reilly, Pavee Point speaking from the floor at ‘We Shall Overcome’.
Thomas McCann, Traveller Counselling Service speaking at ‘We Shall Overcome’.

From Ethel Buckley’s introduction to keynote addresses from Michael Farrell & Orla O’Connor through to panel speakers and participants from the floor, Traveller rights were consistently raised as a key issue to be addressed in the continuing struggle not only for civil rights but also economic, social and cultural rights in Ireland

Nuala Kelly, Pavee Point and Bernadette McAliskey.

In particular, calls were heard for the voices of Travellers, Roma and other discriminated  peoples to be heard – As Bernadette McAliskey and Lucky Kambule concluded the lived experiences of the people bearing the brunt of denial of human rights means they will be best positioned to articulate solutions, be they Travellers, migrant and refugee communities or homeless people.

They emphasised the primacy of unequivocal and consistent solidarity between groups and, Bernadette McAliskey in particular, suggested that we all engage in random acts of kindness to counter prevailing trends towards repression and even fascism.